Free Programming Books

3 Excellent Free Books to Learn VimL

VimL is a powerful scripting language of the Vim editor. You can use this dynamic, imperative language to design new tools, automate tasks, and redefine existing features of Vim. At an entry level, writing VimL consists of editing the vimrc file. Users can mould Vim to their personal preferences. But the language offers so much more; writing complete plugins that transform the editor. Learning VimL also helps improve your efficiency in every day editing.

VimL supports many common language features: variables, control structures, built-in functions, user-defined functions, expressions first-class strings, high-level data structures (lists and dictionaries), terminal and file I/O, regex pattern matching, exceptions, as well as an integrated debugger. Vim’s runtime features are written in VimL.

VimL is often known as Vimscript or Vim script.


1. Learn Vimscript the Hard Way by Steve Losh

Learn Vimscript the Hard WayLearn Vimscript the Hard Way is an informative book for users of the Vim text editor who want to learn how to customize it.

It is not a guide to using Vim. Before reading this book you should be comfortable editing text in Vim and know basic Vim terminology like “buffer”, “window”, “normal mode”, “insert mode” and “text object”. To use this book you should have the latest version of Vim installed, which is version 7.3 at the time of this writing. New versions of Vim are almost always backwards-compatible, so everything in this book should work fine with anything after 7.3 too.

Sections cover:

  • Basic Vim commands that you can use in your ~/.vimrc file to customize Vim quickly and easily.
  • Looks more deeply at Vimscript as a programming language, exploring variables, conditionals, comparisons, looping, functions, strings, string functions and more.
  • Create a full plugin for a programming language from scratch – the Potion programming language, a very small language.

The HTML version of the book can be distributed on the condition that no changes are made and no charge levied.

Read the book


2. Google Vimscript Style Guide by Nate Soares, Joshua Hoak, David Barnett

Google Vimscript Style GuideEvery major open-source project has its own style guide: a set of conventions (sometimes arbitrary) about how to write code for that project. It’s much easier to understand a large codebase when all the code in it is in a consistent style.

Google’s guide covers strings, matching strings, regular expressions, dangerous commands, fragile commands, and catching exceptions. It offers general guidelines covering messaging, type checking, Python, other languages, boilerplate, plugin layout, functions, commands, autocommands, mappings, and settings.

The style guide is licensed under the CC-By 3.0 License, which encourages you to share the document.

Read the book


3. Google Vimscript Guide by Nate Soares, Joshua Hoak, David Barnett

Google Vimscript GuideThis is the in-depth vimscript guide. If you’re just a casual user looking to write a plugin, the abbreviated style guide is for you.

This rather rotund guide dives into justifications and clarifications. It provides an idealized set of rules that are rather too draconian to push on casual scripters.

It’s for users who want to know why certain decisions were made in the abbreviated guide and who want to learn a thing or two about using vimscript safely.

Read the book


All books in this series:

Free Programming Books
JavaGeneral-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level language
CGeneral-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level language
PythonGeneral-purpose, structured, powerful language
C++General-purpose, portable, free-form, multi-paradigm language
C#Combines the power and flexibility of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic
JavaScriptInterpreted, prototype-based, scripting language
PHPPHP has been at the helm of the web for many years
HTMLHyperText Markup Language
SQLAccess and manipulate data held in a relational database management system
RubyGeneral purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented language
AssemblyAs close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal
SwiftPowerful and intuitive general-purpose programming language
GroovyPowerful, optionally typed and dynamic language
GoCompiled, statically typed programming language
PascalImperative and procedural language designed in the late 1960s
PerlHigh-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic language
RDe facto standard among statisticians and data analysts
COBOLCommon Business-Oriented Language
ScalaModern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based language
FortranThe first high-level language, using the first compiler
ScratchVisual programming language designed for 8-16 year-old children
LuaDesigned as an embeddable scripting language
LogoDialect of Lisp that features interactivity, modularity, extensibility
RustIdeal for systems, embedded, and other performance critical code
LispUnique features - excellent to study programming constructs
AdaALGOL-like programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages
HaskellStandardized, general-purpose, polymorphically, statically typed language
SchemeA general-purpose, functional language descended from Lisp and Algol
PrologA general purpose, declarative, logic programming language
ForthImperative stack-based programming language
ClojureDialect of the Lisp programming language
JuliaHigh-level, high-performance language for technical computing
AwkVersatile language designed for pattern scanning and processing language
CoffeeScriptTranscompiles into JavaScript inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell
BASICBeginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
ErlangGeneral-purpose, concurrent, declarative, functional language
VimLPowerful scripting language of the Vim editor
OCamlThe main implementation of the Caml language
ECMAScriptBest known as the language embedded in web browsers
BashShell and command language; popular both as a shell and a scripting language
LaTeXProfessional document preparation system and document markup language
TeXMarkup and programming language - create professional quality typeset text
ArduinoInexpensive, flexible, open source microcontroller platform
TypeScriptStrict syntactical superset of JavaScript adding optional static typing
ElixirRelatively new functional language running on the Erlang virtual machine
F#Uses functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming methods
TclDynamic language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells
FactorDynamic stack-based programming language
EiffelObject-oriented language designed by Bertrand Meyer
AgdaDependently typed functional language based on intuitionistic Type Theory
IconWide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data
XMLRules for defining semantic tags describing structure ad meaning
ValaObject-oriented language, syntactically similar to C#
Standard MLGeneral-purpose functional language characterized as "Lisp with types"
DGeneral-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax
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